We’re all familiar with distracted driving—a dangerous habit where a motorist does not give his or her full attention to the road—but the practice of “distracted walking” may pose just as much of a risk, according to recent research. It was discovered that more than 1500 people were sent to the E.R. in 2010 due to using a cellphone while walking; the number may have been much higher, perhaps in the millions, due to injured pedestrians not reporting their cell phone usage or not seeking medical treatment. Surprisingly, research tells us, the overwhelming majority of accidents occurred from pedestrians talking on the phone, as opposed to texting.
Any type of distraction that leaves motorists, pedestrians or passengers vulnerable to injury should be avoided; one’s attention should be on the road or the crosswalk, not the text message. Too many avoidable injuries and deaths occur every year as a result of one party or another’s not waiting to respond to a message or answer a phone call. It is estimated that over 3,000 people were killed, and 387,000 were injured, in 2011 due to a distracted driver, and it is reported that 11% of young drivers—those under twenty years old—were distracted at the time of their accident. Injuries resulting from a pedestrian-automobile collision are usually very serious, and often fatal—all the more reason for both walkers and drivers to be focused on the road at all times.
If you were injured due to the negligence of another driver while you were walking, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the driver or their insurance company. Virginia, in particular, offers special protection for pedestrians at crosswalks; when walkers are crossing a crosswalk on a road where the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour, drivers are required to slow, come to a complete stop or else change lanes in order to ensure safe passage for whoever is crossing the street. Driver should be well-aware of all pedestrians at all times, and should know where crosswalks are on roads in order to avoid accidents with those on foot.